50 Books By and About Women of Color / by Madeleine Riley

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Happy International Women's Day!

One of my primary goals for reading growth in 2018 is to be more conscious of choosing books that celebrate diverse authors and experiences. I recently asked on Instagram for recommendations for great books by or about women of color. I wanted to compile a list to refer back to in the future when I'm in a bookstore or library and looking for a new read. I specifically asked for books by and about women because I'd like to keep my focus on the female experience -- and because I felt inspired by Rachel's year-long reading goal to read books not by white dudes. Some of the titles on this list don't belong in the own voices category (there's a few that aren't written by a woman of color) but all come highly recommended as stories that expand readers' understanding of WOC experiences across cultures and time periods.

I want to add a note here about feminism and the importance of intersectionality in promoting equal rights for women. Feminism means nothing if it is exclusive to one group of women. All women deserve equal respect, pay, status, and opportunity. All women matter. I've learned so much from other women in the #bookstagram world, and my understanding of intersectional feminism is largely thanks to those women who work to promote recognition and celebration of every woman. So once again I find myself feeling grateful for a community of readers who help me grow and become a better human.

All of the titles and authors listed below were recommended by TST readers. Many of the authors listed here have more than one title that were recommended, so if you've already read the specific title listed, you may want to check out other works by that same author! I hope you find this helpful in encouraging growth in your own reading life, and if you have recommendations to add to this list -- or a reading experience you'd like to share -- please feel free to leave a comment below!

Note: This post uses affiliate links.


Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Pearl That Broke It's Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Pachinko by Lee Min Jin

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Illende

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez

Sing, Uburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson

And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

All the Women in My Family Sing by Deborah Santana & various contributors

The Boat People by Sharon Bala

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong

The Windfall by Diksha Basu

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Hunger by Roxane Gay

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul